As we look at driving forces of change and consider the new skills that the future ocularist must acquire, we will see ocularistry change in the following ways:
- It won't be long before custom eyes can be 3D printed at a satisfactory level. In the future, the process of impressioning and fitting may become entirely non-invasive.
- Ocularists will assume a more involved role in the development process of a multi-functional prosthetic eye.
- Ocularists will be able to reach out to a broader audience, raising awareness about eye loss and demystifying the public's misconceptions about prosthetic eyes.
- Patients will become more engaged in managing their own health care routine.
Before I dive into the future of ocularistry, it might be interesting to look at how the artificial eyes have evolved in the past. Throughout the history of prosthetic eyes, materials have changed based on their availability and the abilities of civilizations to work with them. The oldest artificial eye, dated to the Middle Stone Age about 7,000 years ago, was composed of an earthy clay material called ochre...
In the early 1800s, German glassblower Ludwig Müller-Uri created a glass eye for his son who had lost an eye. (Interesting fact: My mentor's former mentor, third-generation ocularist Phillip A. Danz, is a distant relative of Müller-Uri.)...
During WWII, shortage of German glass occurred in the U.S. In 1943, U.S. Army dental technicians created the first impression-fitted acrylic eyes using dental materials that were new at the time. Then, in 1969, Lee Allen and Howard E. Webster described in the American Journal of Ophthalmology the Modified Impression Method based on techniques they had used since the mid-1950s.
Today, Modified Impression Method remains an industry standard. How can ocularists continue to improve in the future? Any thoughts?Read More